Page images

sent me while it is day--the night cometh wherein no man can work.

Thou hast commanded us to remember all the way which Thou hast led us in the wilderness. The scene of our journeying has indeed been a wilderness; but the hand that has conducted us is divine, and a thousand privileges, not derivable from our condition, have been experienced in it.

Thou hast corrected us, but it is of the Lord's mercies we are not consumed.

We have had our afflictions, but how few have they been in number, how short in continuance, how alleviated in degree, how merciful in design, how instructive and useful in their results.

With regard to our severest exercises, we are compelled to acknowledge, Thou hast not dealt with us after our sins, neither hast Thou rewarded us according to our iniquities. It is good for me that I have been afflicted.

But 0, what a series of bounties and blessings present themselves to our minds, when we look back upon the year through which we have passed ; and to what, but to thine unmerited goodness in the Son of thy love, are we indebted for all ? Health, strength, food, raiment, residence, friends, relations, comfort, pleasure, hope, usefulness,—all our benefits have dropped from thy gracious hand; and there has not been a day, or an hour, or a moment, but has published thy kindness and thy care.

Especially would we acknowledge thy goodness in continuing to us the means of grace.

Whatever has been denied us, we have had the provisions of thy house. The toils and trials of the week have been refreshed and relieved by the delights of the sabbath. Our

have seen our teachers; our ears have heard the joyful sound of the gospes.; and our hearts have often said, Lord, it is good for us to be here.


[ocr errors]

And 0 that every moment of the past year, could, if called upon—and it will be called upon-bear witness to our gratitude, love, and obedience. O that it was not in its power to convict us of the most unworthy requitals of thy goodness. To Thee, O Lord, belong glory and honor, but to us shame and confusion of face. O who can under. stand his errors ? O how many duties have we neglected or improperly performed. How little have we redeemed our time or improved our talents. How little have we been al ve to thy glory, or sought, or even seized, when presented, opportunities of serving our generation. How unprofited have we been under the richest means of religious prosperity; and when for the time we ought to be able to teach others, we have need to be again taught ourselves which be the first principles of the oracles of God.

God be merciful to us sinners. Pardon our iniquity, for it is great. Cleanse us from all unrighteousness, and work in us to will and to do of thy good pleasure. Let us not carry one of our old sins with us into the new year unforgiven, unrepented of, unbewailed, unabhorred. With a new portion of time, may we have new hearts and become new creatures.

If this year we should die—and in the midst of life we are in death—may death prove our eternal gain. And if our days are prolonged, may we walk before the Lord in the land of the living, and show forth all thy praise. The number of our months is with Thee. In thy hand our breath is, and thine are all our ways. Prepare us for all, and be with us in all, and bring us safely through all, into the rest that remains for thy people ; for the sake of our Lord and Savior: in whose words we cal. Thee, Our Father who art in heaven; hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.



Of old Thou hast laid the foundation of the earth ; and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but Thou shalt endure; yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt Thou change them, and they shall be changed: but Thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end. Through all the successions of time, which with us constitute the past, the present, and the future, I AM is thy name; and this is thy memorial in all generations. We desire, O God, with the profoundest reverence, to contemplate the eternity of thy nature. May our minds be filled with elevation and grandeur at the thought of a Being with whom one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years are as one day; a Being, who, amidst all the revolutions of empire, and the lapse of worlds, feels no variableness nor shadow of turning. How glorious, with immortality attached to them, are all thy attributes! and how secure are the hopes and happiness of all those who know thy name, and put their trust in Thee !

May we rejoice, that while men die, the Lord liveth ; that while all creatures are found broken reeds and broken cisterns, He is the Rock of ages, and the Fountain of living

O that we may turn away our hearts frorn vanity; and arnong all the dissatisfactions and uncertainties of the present state, look after an interest in that everlasting covenant which is ordered in all things and sure. May we seek after a union with thyself, as the strength of our heart and our portion foi ever, and be partakers ourselves of the immutability we adore; for Thou hast assured us that while the world passeth away and the lusts therecf, he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.


We thank Thee that Thou hast revealed to us the way in which a fallen and perishing sinner can be eternally united to thyself; and that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. In his name we come. O receive us graciously. Justify us freely from all things. Renew us in the spirit of our minds; and bless us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.

By the lapse of ur days and weeks and years, which we are called upon so often to remark, may we be reminded how short our life is, and how soon we shall close our eyes on every prospect below the sun.

Suffer us not to neglect the claims of eternity in the pursuit of the trifles of time; but knowing how frail we are, may we be wise enough to choose that good part which shall not be taken away from us;

and before we leave the present evil world, may we secure an inheritance in another and a better. May thoughts of death and eternity so impress our minds, as to put seriousness into our prayers and vigor into our resolutions; may they loosen us from an undue attachment to things seen and temporal; so that we may weep as though we wept not, and rejoice as though we rejoiced not.

And remembering that the present life, so short, so uncertain, and so much of which is already vanished, is the only opportunity we shall ever have for usefulness, may we be concerned with a holy avarice to redeem the time. May we be alive and awake at every call of charity and piety. May we feed the hungry, and clothe the naked; may we instruc: the ignorant, reclaim the vicious, forgive the offending, diffuse the gospel; and consider one another, to provoke one another unto love and good works, not forsaking the assembling ourselves together, as the manner of

some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as we see the day approaching.

As we have entered on a new period of life, may we faithfully examine ourselves, to see what has been amiss in our former temper or conduct; and in thy strength may we resolve to correct it. And may we inquire for the future, with a full determination to reduce our knowledge to practice, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? Prepare us for all the duties of the ensuing year.

All the wisdom and strength necessary for the performance of them must come from thyself; may we therefore live a life of self-distrust, of divine dependence, and of prayer; may we ask and receive, that our joy may be full; may we live in the Spirit, and walk in the Spirit.

If we are indulged with prosperity let not our prosperity destroy us nor injure us. If we are exercised with adversity, suffer us not to sink in the hour of trouble, or sin against God. May we know how to be abased without despondence, and to abound without pride. If our relative comforts are continued to us, may we love them without idolatry, and hold them at thy disposal ; and if they are re called from us, may we be enabled to say, The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.

Fit us for all events. We know not what a day may bring forth; but we encourage ourselves in the Lord our God, and go forward. Nothing can befall us by chance. Thou hast been thus far our helper: Thou hast promised to be with us in every condition; Thou hast engaged to male all things work together for our good: all thy ways are mercy and truth. May we therefore be careful for no. thing, but in every thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, may we make known our requests unto God; and may the peace of God, that passeth all understanding keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

« PreviousContinue »